Music legend Elvis Costello has been honoured by Liverpool university.
Costello was made a doctor of music at the Philharmonic Hall in recognition of a varied career which has encompassed post punk and high opera.
"I'm slightly humbled to receive it in the company of those who have actually working hard for their degrees," he joked yesterday before a packed theatre of graduates.
Elvis, or Declan MacManus as he was known when he moved to Birkenhead in 1970, played his first gigs at the 800 club in Wallasey and the Great George Project at the Blackie in Liverpool.
Yesterday, dressed in academic robes that covered silver wrist bangles and skull-and-crossbone cufflinks, he still cut a slightly dangerous figure among the lecturers.
It may be that these days his glasses bear designer labels and have to be swapped for reading spectacles to read an acceptance speech. But his sense of urgency is still evident.
He said: "A school friend was killed at Saint Francis of Xavier school in front of us in the stupid avoidable accident that just shouldn't have happened.
"Life seemed brief and it became important to live properly.
"We were visited by a career advisor who told us we could either go to uni or go into the army.
"I told that gentleman I wanted to write words and put them to music.
"He replied witheringly, 'So you want to be a pop star then'?"